Shaw feels the heat from Opposition on climate change and from young Greens on his co-leadership


Green  Party  co-leader  James  Shaw is   fending  off  challenges,  first  in  his  role  as  Climate  Change Minister  and  then  in  his  role   at the  head  of  his  party.

At  a  hearing of  Parliament’s  Environment Select Committee this week he faced  attacks  from  National and  Act MPs on his climate  change  policies. Meanwhile the party faithful will meet in Christchurch this weekend, with some members of the youth arm planning to force a vote on his leadership.

In  the  select committee hearing the National Party MP Scott Simpson led  the  charge, saying the Emissions Reduction Plan was full of ideas and commitments but few concrete actions.

“The plan is riddled with words like ‘investigate’, ‘consider’, ‘scope out’, ‘explore’, ‘evaluate’.

“Critics of the plan have labelled it as merely just a plan for a plan. Is this real or is this just smoke and mirrors?”

Shaw responded that implementation of many parts of the plan were well under way.

He said other areas had never had substantive government plans in place.  These needed full policy development and money set aside so work could be done properly.

Other countries were well ahead in their programme to cut emissions, with New Zealand still laying the groundwork in some areas.

Meanwhile,  Climate Change Commission chair Dr Rod Carr rejected claims from the Opposition that plans to cut climate gases were not properly costed.

He was asked why the commission, which wrote the national roadmap on which the Emissions Reduction Plan is based, had not undertaken cost-benefit analysis.

Carr replied the more granular work was to be done by the government and the commission did not want to double up.

“We didn’t seek to replicate what would be coming down the pike when each specific initiative that is in the Emissions Reduction Plan will need to go through its regulatory processes.”

Commission chief executive Jo Hendy said the commission would run a ruler over the plan as part of its monitoring role.

Whether  it’s  the  same  kind  of  criticism Shaw  is  facing over  climate  change,  reports  have  surfaced that  Green  Party members  are  troubled that  measures  on climate  change are  not  sharp  enough  to  tackle  the  problem.  They   are  calling  for  a  more  decisive  onslaught  to  cut  emissions, particularly in the  agricultural sector.

Shaw, whose leadership role was challenged at last year’s AGM, is  nonchalant about the possibility of a repeat situation this weekend.

“I do expect that there will be some people who vote to reopen nominations, but that happens every year,” he said.

The difficulty for Shaw is that it doesn’t happen to everyone – co-leader Marama Davidson is not  subject to a similar leadership challenge.

Asked why members wanted to see him gone, and not his co-leader, Shaw said this was a question that needed to be put to party members.

“Really that’s up to them. But, you know, there has been a small group of people who have been wanting to see the back of me ever since they saw the front of me,” Shaw said.

The latest move has been from members of the Young Greens private Facebook group.

In a post by one member, first reported by Salient Magazine, there was a call for a meeting to discuss “re-opening nominations for co-leader… a lot are unhappy with his leadership”.

A second member agreed and said they would love a co-leader on par with Davidson.

Another member told 1News they’d been questioning Shaw’s leadership among their friends.

If  Point  of  Order  were  referee  of  this  challenge,  it  would  have  to  say  from  its  observations  that Shaw  has done   a  much better  job  than  many of  his other  ministerial colleagues,   and  NZ  has  a  more  effective  climate  change policy  than – for  example  –  Australia.

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